Puppet MastersS


Display

US Air Force Wants to be Able to Hack Everything

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© Reuters/Chris Morgan /Idaho National Laboratory
The US Air Force is spending $10 million on an effort to hack into opponents' computer networks to "destroy, deny, degrade, disrupt, deceive, corrupt or usurp" their ability to use the Internet to their advantage.

The ability to hack into networks is part of a list of the military's "Cyberspace Warfare Operations Capabilities" that it wishes to acquire, reports Wired.

Instead of giving the ability to conduct cyber strikes solely to the White House, the Air Force wants its Trojans and worms to be available to its own officials, including top personnel and operational commanders.

Last week, the Pentagon announced a new $110 million program to make cyber strikes a more routine effort in wartime military operations. "Plan X," as the Pentagon named it, will officially begin on September 20, but Darpa has already invested $600,000 to cyber security firm Invincea to begin its research immediately.

Star of David

France Opens Yasser Arafat Murder Inquiry

Yasser Arafat
© Agence France-Presse/Abbas MomaniYasser Arafat
French prosecutors have launched an official inquiry into the 2004 murder of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, after his family claimed he had been poisoned.

­Arafat's family initiated legal action in France last month over claims the Palestinian leader died of radioactive polonium poisoning.

His widow, Suha Arafat, has asked that her late husband's body be exhumed for further testing. The Palestinian Authority has already consented to the procedure.

Earlier, a nine-month investigation conducted by Al-Jazeera concluded that Arafat's personal belongings contained abnormally high levels of polonium, a rare and highly radioactive element. The items, including his clothing, his toothbrush, and even his iconic kaffiyeh, were supplied to Al-Jazeera by his widow. They were then analyzed at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Comment:
Was Arafat murdered?

Poisoned: Who Killed Yasser Arafat?


Star of David

Military Muppet: TV Character Urges Israelis to Prepare for Strike on Iran

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© Reuters/Israeli Defence ForceA photo shows the cover of a new, emergency pamphlet being distributed nationwide by Israeli Army's Home Front Command August 27, 2012
A new emergency pamphlet in Israel instructs residents to prepare for the worst if Tel Aviv conducts a military strike on Iran. But the face on the brochure isn't the country's President or Prime Minister - it's a Muppet.

The cover of the 15-page leaflet pictures a smiling Moishe Oofnik, the Israeli Muppet version of Oscar the Grouch. He's the resident pessimist on Rechov Sumsum, Israel's co-production of the long-running American children's program Sesame Street.

Muppets on the popular show are known for teaching children numbers and the alphabet, but Moishe Oofnik has taken on a different job with this pamphlet - instructing Israelis how to react if their nation's government launches a war against Iran.

The booklet, issued by the Israeli military, says that once air raid sirens sound, residents of the Jewish state would have between 30 seconds and three minutes to find cover before rockets hit their area. The brochure, which is being distributed across the country, also teaches Israelis how to prepare a safe room or shelter for emergency situations.

The furry Muppet puts a happy face on the warnings, though the issue is anything but lighthearted: Israeli ministers have estimated that up to 500 civilians could die in the conflict that would follow a strike on Iran.

The pamphlet comes in the wake of recent remarks by Israeli officials suggesting that Tel Aviv may soon launch a unilateral attack on Tehran's nuclear program. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak reportedly favor a strike on Iran. Public statements and anonymous quotes to Israeli media in the past week have raised speculation that Israel may soon attack Iran.

Book

SEAL Book Depicts Osama bin Laden Shot on Sight in Hallway, Contradicting Original Account

Osama bin Laden
© EPAOsama bin Laden
Washington - A firsthand account of the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden contradicts previous accounts by administration officials, raising questions as to whether the terror mastermind presented a clear threat when SEALs first fired upon him.

Bin Laden apparently was hit in the head when he looked out of his bedroom door into the top-floor hallway of his compound as SEALs rushed up a narrow stairwell in his direction, according to former Navy SEAL Mark Bissonnette, writing under the pseudonym Mark Owen in No Easy Day. The book is to be published next week by Penguin Group (USA)'s Dutton imprint.

Bissonnette says he was directly behind a "point man" going up the stairs. "Less than five steps" from top of the stairs, he heard "suppressed" gunfire: "BOP. BOP." The point man had seen a "man peeking out of the door" on the right side of the hallway

Bissonnette writes that bin Laden ducked back into his bedroom and the SEALs followed, only to find the terrorist crumpled on the floor in a pool of blood with a hole visible on the right side of his head and two women wailing over his body.

Comment: For more information on bin Laden's death, see:
Osama bin Dead Awhile
Can US Offer Final Proof Of Osama's Death?
Did Osama Really Die on Monday in Abbottabad?


Bizarro Earth

Sean Lennon: Destroying Precious Land for Gas

Sean Lennon and his girlfriend, Charlotte Kemp Muhl
© NPRSean Lennon and his girlfriend, Charlotte Kemp Muhl.
On the northern tip of Delaware County, N.Y., where the Catskill Mountains curl up into little kitten hills, and Ouleout Creek slithers north into the Susquehanna River, there is a farm my parents bought before I was born. My earliest memories there are of skipping stones with my father and drinking unpasteurized milk. There are bald eagles and majestic pines, honeybees and raspberries. My mother even planted a ring of white birch trees around the property for protection.

A few months ago I was asked by a neighbor near our farm to attend a town meeting at the local high school. Some gas companies at the meeting were trying very hard to sell us on a plan to tear through our wilderness and make room for a new pipeline: infrastructure for hydraulic fracturing. Most of the residents at the meeting, many of them organic farmers, were openly defiant. The gas companies didn't seem to care. They gave us the feeling that whether we liked it or not, they were going to fracture our little town.

In the late '70s, when Manhattanites like Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger were turning Montauk and East Hampton into an epicurean Shangri-La for the Studio 54 crowd, my parents, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, were looking to become amateur dairy farmers. My first introduction to a cow was being taught how to milk it by hand. I'll never forget the realization that fresh milk could be so much sweeter than what we bought in grocery stores. Although I was rarely able to persuade my schoolmates to leave Long Island for what seemed to them an unreasonably rural escapade, I was lucky enough to experience trout fishing instead of tennis lessons, swimming holes instead of swimming pools and campfires instead of cable television.

Though my father died when I was 5, I have always felt lucky to live on land he loved dearly; land in an area that is now on the verge of being destroyed. When the gas companies showed up in our backyard, I felt I needed to do some research. I looked into Pennsylvania, where hundreds of families have been left with ruined drinking water, toxic fumes in the air, industrialized landscapes, thousands of trucks and new roads crosshatching the wilderness, and a devastating and irreversible decline in property value.

Natural gas has been sold as clean energy. But when the gas comes from fracturing bedrock with about five million gallons of toxic water per well, the word "clean" takes on a disturbingly Orwellian tone. Don't be fooled. Fracking for shale gas is in truth dirty energy. It inevitably leaks toxic chemicals into the air and water. Industry studies show that 5 percent of wells can leak immediately, and 60 percent over 30 years. There is no such thing as pipes and concrete that won't eventually break down. It releases a cocktail of chemicals from a menu of more than 600 toxic substances, climate-changing methane, radium and, of course, uranium.

Question

Is There Going To Be A Stock Market Crash In The Fall?

Danger
© The Economic Collapse Blog
Is the stock market going to crash by the end of this year? Are we on the verge of major financial chaos on a global scale? Well, this is the time of the year when investors start getting nervous.

We all remember what happened during the fall of 1929, the fall of 1987 and the fall of 2008. However, it is important to keep in mind that we do not see a stock market crash in the fall of every year.

Some years the stock market cruises through the months of September, October, November and December without any problems whatsoever. But this year conditions certainly seem to be right for a "perfect storm" to develop.

Technical indicators are screaming that a stock market decline is imminent and sources in the financial industry all over the world are warning that a massive crisis is on the way.

In fact, the Telegraph ran a story with the following shocking headline the other day: "Market crash 'could hit within weeks', warn bankers".

What you are about to read should alarm you. But it is not a guarantee that anything will or will not happen. When Ben Bernanke gives his speech at the Jackson Hole summit on Friday he could announce to the rest of the world that the Federal Reserve has decided to launch QE3 and that the Fed will be printing up trillions of new dollars.

If that happened global financial markets would leap for joy. So it is always a dangerous thing when anyone out there tries to tell you that they can "guarantee" what is about to happen in the financial world. There are just so many moving parts. But if we do not see major intervention by the governments of the world or by global central banks a major financial crisis could rapidly develop this fall.

The conditions are certainly right for a stock market collapse, and we could easily see a repeat of what happened back in 2008.

The truth is that the second half of 2012 looks a little bit more like the second half of 2008 with each passing day.

Cowboy Hat

The American way: Corporate bribery and political corruption on display at Republican, Democratic conventions

Republican Convention
© Tim Boyles/Getty Images
The world was spared one day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida thanks to the arrival of Hurricane Isaac, which forced the organizers to delay the proceedings until Tuesday. For the next three days, however, the degradation and corruption of the American political system will be on full display.

There is in this year's quadrennial conventions an unabashed flaunting of the role of corporate money in what passes for American democracy that goes beyond even the debased levels of previous presidential elections. The Republicans go out of their way to present themselves as the paid stooges of corporate America. The Democrats are a bit more devious - but only a bit.

Coffee

'Free' Market Economy: Indian government gifts tens of billions to big business through privatization

Manmohan Singh
A great deal of the handout occurred directly under the watch of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
The supreme government auditing authority of India, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), has released three damning reports accusing India's Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of facilitating the looting of public wealth by the biggest domestic corporations to the tune of Rs. 38 trillion (about US $75 billion). This staggering sum eclipses by far the unprecedented $40 billion losses estimated by CAG in the 2G (second generation) mobile-phone spectrum allocation scandal that rocked the Indian establishment in the latter half of 2010.

The CAG reports examine the handover of coal fields to private corporations for free, the privatization of the New Delhi airport, and the licensing and status of "ultra mega-power projects," electric generation projects that are each meant to generate at least 4000 Mega Watts using coal. The 2004-2011 period covered by the CAG reports coincides with the term in office of the current Congress Party-dominated UPA alliance, which first came to power in 2004 and won a second term in 2009.

Bomb

'F-bomb' banker fingered

Richard Meddings
© unknownRichard Meddings
The Standard Chartered Bank executive whose expletive-filled anti-US rant stands at the center of allegations that the bank improperly did business with Iran appears to be Richard Meddings.

Meddings, 54, the Oxford-educated finance director at the UK bank, angrily dismissed concerns by his New York colleagues in 2006 that doing business with Iran's despotic regime could sully the bank's image, it is alleged.

"You f - ing Americans," Meddings shot back. "Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we're not going to deal with Iranians?"

The rant was contained in a report by New York's Department of Financial Services, which may suspend Standard's banking charter because it did business with Iran for nearly 10 years - in violation of US law.

Comment: Be aware of who is the master.


Light Sabers

West's Oil Embargo on Iran Fails after Tehran Boosts Supply to 2mln bpd

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© Fars News Agency
An Iranian official underlined failure of the US and EU ban on Iranian crude supplies, announcing that the country has increased daily exports to over 2 million barrels this week.

"Fortunately, the efforts made by Iran to increase oil exports and confront the sanctions have yielded results," the informed source told FNA on the condition of anonymity on Tuesday.

He stated that Iran's oil exports have reached the pre-sanctions level, "A daily volume of over 2mln barrels of crude oil has been exported from Iran to different destinations in recent days."

In June, Iran announced that it will increase its crude oil exports to 3 million barrels per day (bpd) by the next three years.